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Strength in Numbers: LMIC, MDB Insight and Vicinity Jobs Harness Big Data

The idea of using online job postings to track labour market trends is not new. Vicinity Jobs started doing this in 2006, in collaboration with Canadian economic development professionals. Since the internet is the go-to place for employers to connect with job seekers, this concept makes perfect sense.

The information that employers publish to attract qualified job candidates generates a vast digital footprint. Analyzing this data gives us hyper-detailed real-time insight into employer demands for skills, education credentials and other job requirements. It is highly reflective of the true up-to-date needs of employers since it comes “straight from the horse’s mouth.”

This data gathering and extraction process continues to evolve. Like any other methodology, it has its blind spots. For more on this, see LMI Insight Report no. 32, “Through the Looking Glass: Assessing Skills Measures Using 21st Century Technologies.”

Despite any limitations, however, the process has proven its value. Due to its volume, the method often provides a very high level of detail. Unlike surveys, job posting data can be processed and reported in a matter of days. This makes it particularly valuable in times of rapidly shifting labour market trends — like now!

Since 2013, MDB Insight has partnered with Vicinity Jobs to answer the questions asked by local practitioners — “Where are the jobs?” “What are the jobs?” “What industries are hiring?” “Which careers are drying up?” Job seekers, students, educators, businesses and industries, and governments at the local, regional, provincial/territorial and national levels all need answers to these questions. MDB Insight’s expertise in workforce development and labour market planning, drawn from many years of experience, dovetails with our organization’s extensive knowledge of economic development.

Working in partnership with LMIC helps MDB Insight and Vicinity Jobs provide timely insights that assist Canadians in navigating an increasingly complex job market. Our three organizations have put our collective heads together and generated some interesting questions about how we can strengthen the availability, quality and usefulness of the data we provide. This is an especially critical contribution to Canada’s economic recovery as we look to strengthen workforce development amid the fallout of COVID-19.

For example, I recently joined LMIC Executive Director Steven Tobin as part of an expert panel convened by Workforce Central Canada to discuss Canada’s post-pandemic workforce. Even in its choice of title for the panel — Rising Stronger — it was clear that labour market experts and economists are keen to apply data-driven insights with innovative thinking about the future of work. MDB Insight, Vicinity Jobs and LMIC will keep working as partners to support and enhance those efforts. Rising stronger together is what a good economy is all about.

Trudy 2018

Trudy Parsons, MBA, C.I.M., P.Mgr.

Trudy is an Executive Vice-President at MDB Insight and heads the firm’s national Workforce Development Division. A recognized thought leader in workforce development, Trudy’s 30+ year career has included direct labour market planning experience and an extensive range of projects for municipalities and other government clients, industry associations, and organizations across Canada.

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